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Catholic Family News Reprint Series 

"Where is the New Theology 

Leading Us?" 

by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. 
Translated from the French by Suzanne M. Rini 

Editor's note: Catholic Family News proudly presents its exclusive English 
translation of Father Garrigou-Lagrange's landmark work, "La nouvelle theologie oil 
va-t-elleT, which was first published in 1946 in Rome's Angelicum, one of the most 
prestigious theological journals in the world. Father Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. one of 
the greatest Thomistic theologians of this century, warned that the "New Theology" of 
Maurice Blondel, Henri de Lubac, etc. is nothing more than a revitalized Modernism. 
This same new theology was subsequently condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani 
Generis, This article, because of its in-depth nature, is meant not only to be read, but 
studied. It is hoped that the publication of this work will help dispel the widespread 
confusion of our time, especially since, by admission of its own adherents, this 
modernist "new theology" has become "the official theology of Vatican IF. 

In a recent book, Conversion et grace chez S. 
Thomas d'Aquin 1 ("Conversion and Grace in St. 
Thomas Aquinas"), Father Henri Boulliard writes, 
"Since spirit evolves, an unchanging truth can only 
maintain itself by virtue of a simultaneous and co- 
relative evolution of all ideas, each proportionate to 
the other. A theology which is not current [does not 
keep changing — SMR] will be a false theology" 2 

And in the pages preceding and following [the 
above quotation], the author demonstrates that the 
theology of St. Thomas, in several of its most 
important sections, is not current. For example, St. 
Thomas' idea of sanctifying grace was as a form (a 
basic principle of supernatural operations which the 
infused virtues and the seven gifts have as their 
principle). "The ideas employed by St. Thomas are 
simply Aristotelian notions apphed to theology." 3 

And further: "By renouncing the Aristotelian 
system, modern thought abandoned the ideas, design 
and dialectical opposites which only made sense as 
functions of that system." 4 Thus modern thought 
abandoned the notion of form. 

How then can the reader evade the conclusion, 
namely that, since it is no longer current, the theology 
of St. Thomas is a false theology? 

But then why have the Popes so often 

instructed us to follow the doctrine of St. Thomas? 
Why does the Church say in her Code of Canon Law, 
Can. 1366, n.2: 

"The professors should by all means 
treat of the rational philosophy and 
theology, and the training of the 
students in these subjects according to 
the method, doctrine and principles of 
the Angelic Doctor (Aquinas), and 
should hold these as "sacred"? 6 

Further, how can "an unchanging truth" 
maintain itself if the two notions united by the verb to 
be, are essentially variable or changeable 1 ? 

An unchangeable relationship can only be 
conceived of as such if there is something 
unchangeable in the two terms that it unites. 
Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, it's like saying 
that the waves of the sea can be stapled together. 

Of course, the two ideas that are united in an 
unchangeable affirmation are sometimes at first 
confused and then distinguished one from the other, 
such as the ideas of nature, of person, substance, 
accident, transubstantiation, the Real Presence, sin, 
original sin, grace, etc. But if these are not 

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fundamentally unchangeable, how then will the 
affirmation which unites them by the verb "to be" be 
unchangeable? How can one hold that the Real 
Presence of the substance of the Body of Christ in the 
Eucharist requires transubstantiation if the ideas are 
fundamentally variable? How can one assert that 
original sin occurred in us through a willed fault of the 
first man, if the notion of original sin is essentially 
unstable? How can one hold that the particular 
judgment after death is eternally irrevocable, if these 
ideas are said to change? Finally, how can one 
maintain that all of these propositions are invariably 
true if the idea of truth itself must change, and if one 
must substitute for the traditional definition of truth 
(the conformity of judgment to intuitive reality and to 
its immutable laws) what has been proposed in recent 
years by the philosophy of action: the conformity of 
judgment to the exigencies of action, or to human life, 
which is always evolving? 

1. Do the Dogmatic Formulae Themselves 
Retain Their Immutability? 

Father Henri BouUiard 6 responds: "The 
affirmation which is expressed in them remains." But, 
he adds: 7 

"Perhaps one might wonder if it is still 
possible to assert the contingency of the 
ideas implied in the conciliar 
definitions? Will it not compromise the 
irreformable character of these 
definitions? The Council of Trent (sess. 
6, cap. 7, can. 10) par excellence, in its 
teaching on justification, employs the 
idea of formal cause. Consequently, did 
it not enshrine this term and confer a 
definitive character upon the idea of 
grace as a form? Not at all. It was 
certainly not the intention of the 
Council to canonize an Aristotelian 
idea, nor even a theological idea 
conceived under the influence of 
Aristotle. It simply wished to affirm, 
against the Protestants, that 
justification is an interior renewal. 
Toward this end, it used some shared 
theological ideas of the times. But one 
can substitute others for these, without 
modifying the sense of its teaching." 
(Emphasis mine.) 

Undoubtedly, the Council did not canonize the 

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Aristotelian idea of form with all of its relations to 
other ideas of the Aristotelian system. But it approved 
it as a stable human idea, in the sense that we speak 
of everything that formally constitutes a thing (in this 
case, justification). 8 In this sense, it speaks of 
sanctifying grace as distinct from actual grace, by 
saying that it is a supernatural gift, infused, which is 
inherent in the soul and by which man is formally 
saved. 9 If the Council defined faith, hope and charity 
as permanently infused virtues, their radical principle 
(habitual or sanctifying grace) must also be a 
permanently infused gift, and from that, distinct from 
actual grace or from a divine, transitory action. 

But how can one maintain the sense of this 
teaching of the Council of Trent, namely that 
"sanctifying grace is the formal cause of salvation"? I 
do not say, if u one substitutes a verbal equivalent"; I 
say with Father Henri BouUiard "if one substitutes 
another idea". 

If it is another idea, then it is no longer that of 
formal cause: Then it is also no longer true to say with 
the Council: "Sanctifying grace is the formal cause of 
salvation." It is necessary to be content to say that 
grace was defined at the time of the Council of Trent 
as the formal cause of salvation, but today it is 
necessary to define it otherwise, and that this *pass$ 
definition is no longer current and thus is no longer 
true, because a doctrine whi 
was said, is a false doctrine. 10 

The ans wer will be: For the idea of formal 
cause one can substitute another equivalent idea. Here 
one is satisfied by mere words (by insisting fitst on 
another and then on an equivalent), especially since it 
is not verbal equivalence, rather, it is another idea. 
What happens even to the idea of truth? u 

Thus the very serious question continues to 
resurface: Does the conciliar proposition hold as true: 
through conformity with the object outside the mind, 
and with its immutable laws, or rather through 
conformity with the requirements of human life which 
is always changing? 12 

One sees the danger of the new definition of 
truth, no longer the adequation of intellect and reality 
but the conformity of mind and life.™ When Maurice 
Blondel in 1906 proposed this substitution, he did not 
foresee all of the consequences for the faith. Would he 
himself not be terrified, or at least very troubled? 
What life" is meant in this definition of: "conformity 
of mind and life"? It means human life. And so then, 
how can one avoid the modernist definition: "Truth is 
no more immutable than man himself inasmuch as it 
is evolved with him, in him and through him. (Denz. 
2058) One understands why Pius X said of the 
modernists: "they pervert the eternal concept of truth. 11 
(Denz. 2080) 


It is very dangerous to say: "Ideas change, the 
affirmation remains." If even the idea of truth is 
changing, the affirmations do not remain true in the 
same way, nor according to the same meaning. Then 
the meaning of the Council is no longer maintained, as 
one would have wished. 

Unfortunately, the new definition of the truth 
has spread among those who forget what Pius X had 
said: "We admonish professors to bear well in mind 
that they cannot set aside St. Thomas especially in 
metaphysical questions, without grave 
disadvantage." 1,7 A small error in principle, says 
Aquinas, is a great error in conclusion" (Encyclical 

Moreover, no new definition of truth is offered 
in the new definition of theology: "Theology is no more 
than a spirituality or religious experience which found 
its intellectual expression." And so follow assertions 
such as: "If theology can help us to understand 
spirituality, spirituality will, in the best of cases, cause 
our theological categories to burst, and we shall be 
obliged to formulate different types of theology... For 
each great spirituality corresponded to a great 
theology." Does this mean that two theologies can be 
true, even if their tnain theses are contradictory and 
opposite? The answer will be no if one keeps to the 
traditional definition of truth. The answer will be yes 
if one adopts the new definition of truth, conceived not 
in relation to being and to immutable laws, but 
relative to different religious experiences. These 
definitions seek only to reconcile us to modernism. 

It should be remembered that on December 1, 
1924, the Holy Office condemned 12 propositions 
taken from the philosophy of action, among which was 
number 5, or the new definition of truth: "Truth is not 
found in any particular act of the intellect wherein 
conformity with the object would be had, as the 
Scholastics say, but rather truth is always in a 
state of becoming, and consists in a progressive 
alignment of the understanding with life, indeed 
a certain perpetual process, by which the intellect 
strives to develop and explain that which experience 
presents or action requires: by which principle, 
moreover, as in all progression, nothing is ever 
determined or fixed." 18 The last of these condemned 
propositions is: "Even after Faith has been received, 
man ought not to rest in the dogmas of religion, 
and hold fast to them fixedly and immovably, but 
always solicitous to remain moving ahead toward a 
deeper truth and even evolving into new notions, 
and even correcting thai which he believes." 1 * 

Many, who did not heed these warnings, have 
now reverted to these errors. 

But then, how can it be held that sanctifying 
grace is essentially supernatural grace, free, not at all 

due to human nature nor to angelic nature? 

By light of Revelation, St. Thomas clearly 
articulated this principle; the faculties, the "habits" 
and their acts are specified by their formal object; or 
the formal object of human intelligence and even that 
of angelic intelligence, are immensely inferior to the 
proper object of divine intelligence. 20 But if one puts 
aside all metaphysics, in order to be satisfied with 
historical study and psychological introspection, the 
text of St. Thomas becomes unintelligible. From this 
point of view, what will be maintained by traditional 
doctrine regarding distinction not being contingent 
upon, but necessitated by virtue of the order of grace 
and of nature? 

On this subject, there is the recent book of 
Father Henri de Lubac, Surnaturel (Etudes 
historiques) ["The Supernatural" in "Historical 
Studies"], 21 on the probable impeccability of the angels 
in the natural order, in which he vrritcs: "Nothing is 
said by St. Thomas regarding the distinction which 
would be forged later by a number of Thomistic 
theologians between 'God author of the natural order' 
and 'God author of the supernatural order' ... as if 
natural beatitude ... in the case of the angels would 
have had to result from an infallible activity, non- 

On the contrary, St. Thomas often 
distinguishes the ultimate supernatural end of the 
ultimate natural end, 23 and regarding the devil, he 
says, 24 "The sin of the devil was not in anything which 
pertains to the natural order, but according to 
something supernatural." 25 

Thus one would become completely 
disinterested in the pronuntiata maiora (major 
pronouncements) of the philosophical doctrine of St. 
Thomas, that is in the 24 Thomist theses approved in 
1916 by the Sacred Congregation of Studies. 

Moreover, Father Gaston Fessard, S.J. in Les 
Etudes ["Studies"], November 1945, 26 speaks of the 
"welcome drowsiness which protects canonized 
Thomism, but also, as Peguy has said, TDuried if 
whereas the school of thought dedicated to the 
contrary is full of life." 

In the same review in April 1946, it was said 
that neo-Thomism and the decisions of the Biblical 
Co mmis sion are "a guardrail but not an answer." And 
it was proposed that Thomism be replaced, as if Leo 
Xm in the Encyclical Aeterni Patris, would have been 
fooled, as if Pius X, in reviving this same 
recommendation, had taken a false route? And on 
what path did those who were inspired by this new 
theology end up? Where but on the road of skepticism, 
fantasy and heresy? His Holiness, Pius XII, recently 
said in a published Discourse in LVsservatore 
Romano, Dec. 19, 1946: 

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"There is a good deal of talk (but 
without the necessary clarity of 
concept), about a 'new theology*, which 
must be in constant transformation, 
following the example of all other 
things in the world, which are in a 
constant state of flux and movement, 
without ever reaching their term. If we 
were to accept such an opinion, what 
would become of the unchangeable 
dogmas of the Catholic Faith; and 
what would become of the unity 
and stability of that Faith?" 27 


2. Application of New Principles to the 
Doctrines of Original Sin and the 

Some will no doubt say that we exaggerate, but 
even a small error regarding first ideas and first 
principles has incalculable consequences which are not 
foreseen by those who have likewise been fooled. The 
consequences of the new views, some of which we have 
already reviewed, have gone well beyond the forecasts 
of the authors we have cited. It is not difficult to see 
these consequences in certain typewritten papers, 
which have been sent (some since 1934) to clergy, 
seminaries, and Catholic intellectuals; one finds in 
them the most singular assertions and negations on 
original sin and the Real Presence. 

At times, in these same circulated papers, 
before such novelties are proposed, the reader is 
conditioned by being told: This will appear crazy at 
first, however, if you look at it closely, it is not 
illogical. And many end up believing it. Those with 
superficial intelligence will adopt it, and the dictum, 
a A doctrine which is not current, is no longer true" will 
be out walking. Some are tempted to conclude: "It 
seems that the doctrine of the eternal pains of hell is 
no longer current, and so it is no longer true." It is said 
in the Gospel that one day charity will be frozen in 
many hearts and they will be seduced by error. 

It is a strict obligation of conscience for 
traditional theologians to respond. Otherwise, they 
gravely neglect their duty, and they will be made to 
account for this before God. 

In the files copied and distributed in France in 
recent years (at least since 1934, some of which this 
writer has), the most fantastic and false doctrines 

regarding original sin are taught. 

In these same files, the act of Christian Faith 
is not defined as a supernatural and infallible belief 
according to revealed truths on account of the 
authority of God Who reveals them 2 *, but as a belief of 
the spirit in relation to a general outlook on the 
universe. This perspective reflects what is possible and 
most probable but not demonstrable. The Faith 
becomes an ensemble of probable opinions. From this 
point of view, Adam appears to be not an individual 
man from whom the human species is descended, but 
who is, instead, a collective. 

Thus, from that point of view, it becomes 
impossible to hold to the revealed doctrine of original 
sin as explicated by Saint Paul, Rom. 5:18: "Therefore 
as by the offense of one, unto all men to condemnation; 
so also by the justice of one, unto all men to . 
justification of life." 29 All of the Fathers of the Church, 
who were authorized interpreters cf Scripture in its 
constant sacred teaching, have always meant that 
Adam was an individual man as after Christ, and not 
a collective. 30 But what is now proposed to us is a 
probability with a contrary meaning to that of the 
teaching of the Councils of Orange and Trent, Denz. 
175, 789, 791, 793. 31 

Further, from this new point of view, the 
Incarnation of the Word would be merely a moment in 
universal evolution. 

The hypothesis of the material evolution of the 
world is extended into the spiritual order. The 
supernatural world is in evolution toward the full 
coming of Christ. 

Sin, in so far as it affects the soul, is something 
spiritual and thus bitemporal. Thus it is of little 
importance for God that it took place at the beginning 
of the history of humanity or during the course of 

The desire then is to change not only the 
expository mode of theology, but even the nature of 
theology, as well as that of dogma. No longer 
considered is the point of view of the faith infused by 
divine Revelation, and interpreted by the Church in its 
Councils. It is no longer a question of the Councils, but 
the replacement of them with a biological point of view 
torturously conceived by dim artificial light only to 
arrive at the most fantastic points of view that recall 
those of Hegelian evolutionism, which allows 
Christian dogmas to be retained in name only. 

This then is the way of the rationalists, the 
school most desired by the enemies of the faith, which 
reduces all to mere and changeable opinion so that 
there is no value retained in them. What remains of 
the word of God given to the world for the salvation of 

In the articles titled, "How I believe" one 

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"If we wish, we other Christians, to 
conserve to Christ the qualities which 
are the basis of His power and our 
adoration, we can do nothing better or 
even nothing more than accept 
completely the most modern ideas of 
Evolution. Under pressure, the union 
of Science and philosophy occurs, and 
the World more and more imposes 
itself on our experience and our 
thought as a system linked by 
activities gradually lifting us toward 
liberty of conscience. The only 
satisfying interpretation of this process 
is that of regarding it as irreversible 
and convergent. Thus before we 
arrived, there was a universal cosmic 
Center, where all leads, where All is 
felt, or all merge into each other. Ah, it 
is the physical pole of the universal. 
Evolution is necessary to locate and 
recognize the plenitude of Christ ... By 
discovering the apex of the world, 
evolution renders Christ, and all that 
He gave in service of making sense of 
the world, possible, 
evolution possible. 

tfectly aware of the staggering 
ions of this idea ... but, by 
J a parallel wonder, I can do 
nothing else but note, in terms of 
physical reality, the juridical 
expressions in the Church's deposit its 
Faith ... I have unhesitatingly come to 
the realization that I can only go in 
that direction which seems able to let 
me progress, and consequently, to save 
my Faith. 

"In the first place, Catholicism 
deceived me with its narrow definitions 
of the World, and by its failure to 
understand the role of Matter. Now, I 
recognize that by means of the 
Incarnation of God, it was revealed to 
me that I am only able to be saved by 
uniting myself to the universe. And my 
most profound 'pantheistic' hopes are 
guided, reassured and fulfilled by this 
same thrust (into the universe). The 
World around me, becomes divine ... 

"A general convergence of religions 
toward a Christ-universal, who, 
fundamentally, fulfills everyone: this 
appears to me to be the only conversion 
possible to the World, and the only 
form imaginable for the Religion of the 
fixture." 33 

Thus the material world would have evolved 
toward spirit, and the world of the spirit would evolve 
naturally, that is to say toward the supernatural order 
and toward the fullness of Christ. Thus, the 
Incarnation of the World, the mystical body, the 
universal Christ would be moments of Evolution, and 
based on this view of a constant progress from the 
beginning, it would seem that there was not a fall at 
the beginning of the history of humanity, but a 
constant progress of good which triumphs over evil 
according to the same laws of evol"+™ n . Original sin 
in us would be the result of man's faults, which had 
exercised a deadly influence on humanity. 

See then what remains of the Christian 
dogmas in this theory which distances itself from our 
Credo in proportion to its approach to Hegelian 

In the above cited work, the writer said: "I 
have taken the only road that seems possible to me for 
making progress and consequently, for saving my 
F aith. n This therefore means that the Faith itself only 
saves if it progresses, and it changes so much that one 
can no longer recognize the Faith of the Apostles, nor 
that of the Fathers of the Councils. It is a way of 
applying the principle of the new theology: a A doctrine 
which is no longer current, is no longer true" and for 
some, it suffices that it is no longer current in certain 
quarters. From this emerges that the truth is always 
in fieri, never immutable. The Faith is the conformity 
to judgment, not with being and its necessary laws, 
but with life, which is constantly and forever evolving! 
Here exactly is where the propositions condemned by 
the Holy Office, December 1, 1924, lead, and which we 
have quoted above: 34 "No abstract proposition can 
have in itself immutable truth. Even after Faith 
has been received, man ought not to rest in the 
dogmas of religion, and hold fast to them fixedly 
and immovably, but always solicitous to remain 
moving ahead toward a deeper truth and even 
evolving into new notions, and even correcting that 
which he believes." 35 


We have another example of the same 
deviation in the typewritten papers on the Real 
which have been circulating for some 

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months among the clergy. These say that, formerly, 
the real problem with the Real Presence was not well 
posed: "The response to all of the difficulties that were 
posed was: Christ is present after the manner of a 
substance ... This explication did not touch upon the 
real problem. We add that in its deceptive clarity, it 
suppressed the religious mystery. Strictly speaking, 
there is no longer a mystery there, there is nothing 
more than a marvel." 

Thus it is St. Thomas who did not know how to 
pose the problem of the Real Presence and his 
solution: the presence of the Body of Christ by mode of 
substance 36 would be illusory; its clarity is a deceptive 

We are warned that the new explication being 
proposed "evidently implies that the method of 
reflection substitutes the Cartesian and Spinozan for 
the scholastic method". 

A bit further on, concerning 
transubstantiation t one reads: "This word is not 
without inconvenience, like that of original sin. It 
responds to the manner in which the Scholastics 
conceived of and defined this transformation and their 
definition is inadmissible" 

Here the writer distances himself not only from 
St. Thomas, but from the Council of Trent 37 , because 
it (the Council) defined transubstantiation as true by 
faith, and even said: "a change which the Catholic 
Church most fittingly calls transubstantiation" 38 
Today these new theologians say: 

"Not only is this word inconvenient, ... 
it corresponds to an inadmissible 
concept and definition." 

"In the Scholastic perspective, in which 
the reality of the thing is *the 
substance', the thing may ' not really 
change, only if the substance changes 
... by the transubstantiation. According 
to the current view, where, by virtue of 
the offering which was made according 
to a rite determined by Christ, the 
bread and the wine became the 
efficacious symbol of the sacrifice of 
Christ, and consequently of the 
spiritual presence, and their religious 
being was changed, not only their 
substance. 39 And also: "This is what we 
can designate 

But it is clear that it is no longer the 
transubstantiation defined by the Council of Trent, 
u that singular conversion of the whole substance of the 
bread into the body, and of the entire substance of the 

wine into the blood, the species of the bread and wine 
only remaining". 40 It is evident that the sense of the 
Council is not maintained by the introduction of these 
new notions. The bread and the wine have become 
only "the efficacious symbols of the spiritual presence 
of Christ." 

This brings us uniquely close to the modernist 
position which does not affirm the Real Presence of the 
Body of Christ in the Eucharist, but which only says 
from a religious and practical point of view: Comport 
yourself toward the Eucharist the same way you 
behave with regard to the humanity of Christ. 

In these same circulated papers quite the same 
is done to the mystery of the Incarnation: "Although 
Christ is truly God, one cannot say that, because of 
Him, God was present in the land of Judea . . . God was 
no more present in Palestine than anywhere else. The 
efficacious sign of this divine presence was manifested 
in Palestine in the First Century of our epoch, and this 
is all that one can say." 41 

Finally the same writer adds: "The problem of 
the causality of the sacraments is a false problem, 
born of a false method for posing the question." 


We do not think that the writers whom we 
have discussed abandoned the doctrine of St. Tho: 
Rather, they never adhered to it, nor ever unders 
it very well. This is saddening and disquieting. 

Wouldn't it be that only skeptics can be formed 
through this type of teaching, since nothing certain is 
proposed in place of St. Thomas? Moreover, they 
pretend to submit to the directions of the Church, but 
what is the substance of this submission? 

A professor of theology wrote to me: 

"In effect, the very notion of the truth 
has been put into debate, and without 
fully realizing it, thus revisiting 
modernism in thought as in action. The 
writings that you have spoken to me 
about are much read in France. It is 
true that they exercise a huge 
influence on the average type of soul. 
They have little effect on serious 
people. It is necessary to write for 
those who have the sincere desire to be 

Surely, the Church not only recognized the 
authority of St. Thomas in the domain of theology, but, 
by extension, also in philosophy. Contrary to their 
assertions, the Encyclical, Aeterni patris of Leo XIII 
speaks above all of the philosophy of St. Thomas. 

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Likewise, the 24 Thomistic theses proposed in 1916 by 
the Sacred Congregation of Studies are of a 
philosophical order, and if these pronunciata maiora 
of St. Thomas are not certified, then how can his 
theology have value, since they are constantly 
reiterated in the philosophy? Finally, we have already 
cited Pius X, who wrote: "We admonish professors to 
bear well in mind that they cannot set aside St. 
Thomas especially in metaphysical questions, 
without grave disadvantage." 17 A small error in 
principle, says Aquinas, is a great error in 
conclusion" (Encyclical Pascendi) 

From whence do these trends come? A good 
analyst wrote to me: 

"We are harvesting the fruits of the 
unguarded attendance of university 
s courses. Those who have attempted to 
attend the classes of the masters of 
modernist thought in order to convert 
them have allowed themselves to be 
converted by them. Little by little, they 
come to accept their ideas, their 
methods, their disdain of scholasticism, 
their historicism, their idealism and all 
of their errors. If this is the result f< 
those already formed, 
perilous for the others." 


It revisits modernism. Because it accepted the 
proposition which was intrinsic to modernism: that of 
substituting, as if it were illusory, the traditional 
definition of truth: aequatio rei et intellectus (the 
adequation of intellect and reality) , for the subjective 
definition: adequatio realis mentis et vitae (the 
adequation of intellect and life). That was more 
explicitly stated in the already cited proposition, which 
emerged from the philosophy of action, and was 
condemned by the Holy Office, December 1, 1924: 
"Truth is not found in any particular act of the intellect 
wherein conformity with the object would be had, as 
the Scholastics say, but rather truth is always in a 
state of becoming, and consists in a progressive 
alignment of the understanding with life, indeed 
a certain perpetual process, by which the intellect 
strives to develop and explain that which experience 
presents or action requires: by which principle, 
moreover, as in all progression, nothing is ever 
determined or fixed" 18 (v. Monitore ecclesiastico, 1925. t. 
I; p. 194.) 

The truth is no longer the conformity of 

to intuitive reality and its immutable laws 
but the conformity of judgment to the exigencies of 
action, and of human life which continues to evolve. 
The philosophy of being or ontology is substituted by 
the philosophy of action which defines truth as no 
longer a function of being but of action. 

Thus is modernism reprised: "Truth is no more 
immutable than man himself, inasmuch as it is 
evolved with him, in him and through him. 42 As well, 
Pius X said of the modernists, "they pervert the eternal 
concept of truth" 

This is what our mentor, Father M.B. Schwalm 
previewed in his articles in Revue thomiste, (1896 
through 1898) 43 on the philosophy of action, on the 
moral dogmatism of Father Labertbonni&re, on the 
crisis of contemporary apologetics, on the illusions of 
idealism, and on the dangers that all of these posed to 
the Faith. 

But while many thought that Father Schwalm • 
had exaggerated, little by little they conceded the right 
to cite the new definition of truth, and they more or 
less ceased defending the traditional definition of 
truth, as well as the conformity of judgment to 
intuitive being and the immutable laws of non- 
contradiction, of causality, etc. For them, the truth is 
no longer that which is t but that which is becoming — 
and is constantly and always changing. 

Thus to cease to defend the traditional 
definition of truth by permitting it to be illusory, it is 
then necessary to substitute the vitalist and 
evolutionary. This then leads to complete relativism 
and is a very serious error. 

Moreover, this leads to saying what the 
enemies of the Church wish to lead us to say. When 
one reads their recent works, one sees that they are 
completely content and that they themselves propose 
interpretations of our dogmas, whether it be regarding 
original sin, cosmic evil, the Incarnation, Redemption, 
the Eucharist, the final universal reintegration, the 
cosmic Christ, the convergence of all religions toward 
a universal cosmic center. 44 

One understands why the Holy Father in his 
recent speech published in the September 19, 1946, 
issue of UOsservatore Romano, said, when speaking of 
the "new theology": "If we were to accept such an 
opinion, what would become of the unchangeable 
dogmas of the Catholic Faith; and what would 
become of the unity and stability of that Faith?" 

Further, since Providence only permits evil for 
a good reason, and since we see all about us an 
excellent reaction against the errors we have 
emphasized herein, we can then hope that these 
deviations shall be the occasion of a true doctrinal 
renewal, achieved through a profound study of the 
works of St. Thomas, whose value is more and more 

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apparent when compared to today's intellectual 
disarray. 45 


1. 1944. p. 219 

2. Emphasis added. 

3. ibid, p. 213 ff. 

4. p. 224. 

5. "Philosophise rationaiis ac theologiae studia et alumnorumin his 

disciplinis institutionem professores omnino pertractent ad Angelici Doctoris 

rationem, docthnam, et principia, eaque sancte teneant." Code of Canon 

Law, Can. 1366, n.2 

7. ibid 

8. 1 have explained this more fully in Le Sens commun, la philosophie de 
I'etre et les formules dogmatiques ["Common Sense: The philosophy of 
being and dogmatic formulae"] 4th edition, 1936, p. 362ff. 

9. CF. Denz/nper, 799. 821 

10. Further it is defined that the infused virtues (above all the theological 
virtues), which derive from habitual grace, are qualities, permanent 
principles of supernatural and meritorious supernatural operations; rt is thus 
necessary that habitual grace or sanctifying grace (by which we are in a 
state of grace), from which these virtues proceed as from their source, are 
themselves a permanently infused quality and not at all a motion like actual 
grace. Thus it is much before St. Thomas that Faith, hope and charity were 
conceived as infused virtues. What could be clearer? Why revert to 
Thomas' era under the pretext of preempting these questions, and of 
putting into doubt the most certain and fundamental truths? To do so is an 
indication of the intellectual disarray of our times. 

11. Mr. Maurice Blondel wrote in Les Annals de Philosophie chretienne 
[The Annals of Christian Philosophy"], June 15, 1906, p. 235: "For the 
abstract and chimerical adaequatlo vel et Intellectus one substitutes 
methodical research, Vadaequatio realls mentis et vitae." It is not without 
great responsibility that one calls "chimericaT the traditional definition of the 
truth defined for centuries in the Church, and that one speaks of it by 
substituting another, in every area that comprises the theological Faith. 
Have the further works of Blondel corrected this deviation? We are unable 
to ascertain that. He also says in L'£tre et les etres. 1935, p. 415 "Any 
intellectual evidence, even that of absolute principles themselves, and that 
have an ontological value, impose on us a constrained form of certainty.' 
In order to admit to the ontological value of these principles, one must have 
a free choice, and that by means of this choice, their ontological value is 
thus only probable. But It is necessary to admit according to the necessity 
of action secundum conformrtatem mentis et vitae. It can not be otherwise 
if one substitutes the philosophy of action for the philosophy of being or 
ontology. Thus truth was defined not as a function of being, but of action. 
Everything was changed. An error regarding the first idea of truth gives rise 
to an error regarding ail the rest. See aiso in La Pensee of Blondel (1 934) 
V.I, p. 39, 130-136, 347, 355; and V. If. P. 65 ff., 90, 96-196. 

1 2. per conformitatem cum ente extramentaii et legibus eius immutabilibus, 
an per conformitatem cum exigentiis vitae humanae quae semper 
evolvitur? (Editors Note: Anytime that Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange employed 
Latin, we have rendered the text in English and the Latin in footnote.) 

1 3. "no longer adaequatio rei et intellectus, but conformitas mentis et vitae" 

14. Another theologian, whom we shall cite further on, asks us to say that 
at the time of the Council of Trent the transubstantiation was conceived as 
the changing, the conversion of the substance of the bread into that of the 
Body of Christ, but that today it has come to be thought of as the 
transubstantiation, without this changing of substance, meaning that the 
substance of the bread, which remains, becomes the efficacious sign of the 
Body of Christ. And that this pretends to conserve the sense of the Counclll 

1 5. "Veritas non est immutabilis plusquam ipse homo, quippe quae cum 
ipso, in ipso etperipsum evolvitur". (Denz. 2058) 

16. "aetemam veritatis notionem pervertunt" (Denz 2080) 

17. "Magistros autem monemus, ut rite hoc teneant Aquinatem vel parum 
deserere, praesertlm In re metaphyslca, non sine magno detrimento 
esse. Parvus error In princlpio, sic verbis ipsius Aquinatis licet uti, est 
magnus In fine." (Encyclical Pascendi) 

18. u conformltas cum oblecto, ut aiunt scholastic!, sed Veritas 

semper In fieri, consistitque in adaequatione progressiva Intellectus et 
vitae, scil. in motu quodam perpetuo, quo intellectus evolvere et explicare 
nititur id quod pant experientia vel exlglt actio: ea tamen lege ut in toto 
progressu nihil unquam ratum fixumque habeatur." The last of these 
condemned propositions is: "Etiam post fidem conceptam, homo non 
debet qulescere In dogmatlbus rellglonls, elsque fixe et Immoblllter 
adhaerere, sed semper anxius manere progrediendi ad ultehorem 
veritatem, nempe evolvendo In novus sensus, immo et corrigendo id 
quod credit." 

19. These condemned propositions are found in Monitors ecclesiastico, 
1925, p. 194; in Documentation catholique, 1925, V. I. p. 771 ff., and in 
Praelectiones Theologiae naturalis by Father Descoqs, 1 932, VI, p. 1 50 V 
II, p. 287ff. 

20. The Deity or the intimate life of God, cf. 1 a , q. 12, a.4. 

21. 1946, p. 254. 

22. Ibid, p. 275. 

23. CF. 1st, q. 23, a. 1: "Finis ad quemres creatae ordinatura Deo est 
duplex. Unus, qui excedit proportionem naturae creatae et facultatem, 
et hie finis est vita aetema, quae in d'rvina visione consistit: quae est supra 
naturm cuiustibet creaturae, ut supra habitum est 1st, q. 12, a. 4. Alius 
autem finis est naturae creatae proportionatus r quern scil. res creata 
potest aWngere sec. Virtutem suae naturae.' Item 1st. lind, q. 62, a. 1 : "Est 
autem duplex homlnls beatitudo, sive fetichas, ut supra dictum est, q. 3. 
A. 2 ad 4; 1. 5, a.5. Una quidem proportionata huw°e naturae, ad quam 
scil. homo prevenire potest per principia suae naturae. Alia autem est 
beatitudo, naturam hominis excedens. 

Item de Veritata, q. 14. a. 2 : 'Est autem duplex homlnls bourn uttimum. 
Quorum unum est proportionatum naturae ... haec est felicitas de qua 
philosophi hcuti sunt ... Aliud est bonum naturae humanae proportionem 
excedens." If one no longer admits to the classical distinction between the 
order of nature and that of grace, one will say that grace is the normal and 
obligatory achievement of nature, and the concession of such a favor does 
not remain less, one says, free, like creation and all that follows It, because 
creation is no longer necessary. To which Father Descoqs, S.J. in his little 
book, Autourde la crise du Transformism ["On the crisis of Transformism"], 
2nd edition, 1944, p. 84, very legitimatoly responds: This explication 
seems to us in distinct opposition to the most explicit Catholic teachings. 
It aiso contains an evidently erroneous conception of grace. Creation is 
never a grace in the theotogicai sense of the word, grace only being at*? 
to be found in relation to nature. In SLch a perspective. The ; 
order disappears.' 

24. De malo, 1.16, a.3. 

25. 'Peccatum diaboli non fuit in aiiquo quod perOnet ad 
naturaiem, sed secundum aliquid supernatural." Item la, 1.63, a. J. ad 3. 

26. p. 269-270 

27. "Plura dicta sunt, at non satis explorata ratione 'de nova theotogia' quae 
cum universis semper volventibus rebus, una volvatur, semper itura, 
numquam perventura. SI talis opinio amplectenda esse videatur, quid fiat 
de numquam Immutandls cathollcls dogmatlbus, quid de tldei unitate 
et stabllltate?" 

2B.j3ropter auctoritatem Del revelantls. 

29. "Sicut per nsius delictum in omnes homines in condemnationem, sic 
etperunlus iustitiam in omnes homines in justificationem vitae. Sicutenim 
per inoboedlentlam unlus peccatores constitutl sunt multi, ita per unlus 
oboedltlonem iusti constituentur multi." Bom. V, 18. 

30. CF. L'£pitre aux Romains [The Epistle to the Romans!, by Father M. 
J. Lagrange CP. 3rd Edition, Commentary on chapter V. 

31. The difficulties for the positivistic sciences and for prehistory were 
exposed in the article "Polygenism du Diet, de thiol. Cath. The authors of 
this article, A. and J. Bouyssonie clearly distinguished, section 2536, the 
purview of philosophy as being "Where the naturalist, inasmuch as he is 
one, is incompetent." It would have been well if, in that same article, the 
question had been treated from three points of view: the positive sciences, 
philosophy and theology, particularly in relation to dogma and original sin. 
According to several theologians, the hypothesis that before Adam there 
were men on earth who were of the human race, is not contrary to the faith. 
But according to Scripture, the human species which is dispersed over the 
entire earth, derives from Adam, Gen. III. 5.. .20, Wis. X, I: Rom V 12,18.1 9: 
Act. Ap. XVII 26. 

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Also regarding the philosophical point of view, a free intervention of God in 
creating the human soul was necessary, and even for preparing the body 
to receive it. The engendering of an inferior nature cannot however produce 
this superior state of his species; more comes out of less, contrary to the 
principle of causality. 

Finally, as in the quoted article, col. 2535, "According to the mutationists (of 
today), a unique seed gave rise to the new species. The species was 
begun by an exceptional (superior) individual: 

32. p. 15. 

33. Emphasis added. The same kind of nearly fantastic ideas are found in 
an article by Father Teilhard de Chardin, "Life and Planets," published in 
les Etudes, May 1946, especially p. 158-160 and 168. — See also Cahiers 
du Monde nouveau PNew World Notebooks"]. August 1946, also by Father 
de Chardin, "Un grand Evenement qui se dessine: le Planetisation 
humane." ["A great event is being planned: Human Planetization"] 
[Translator's note: Without reading this article, it is difficult to know Teilhard 
de Chardin's meaning which could variously mean something as banal as 
"space travel" or more exoticalty, the "beaming up of consciousness," which 
would be commensurate with his notions on man evolving toward and to 
"pure mind" or the noosphere. — SMR] 

I have also recently quoted a work by the same author, taken from Etudes, 
1921 , V. II, p. 543. where he spoke of The impossibility determining our 
absolute beginning in the order of phenomenon." — To which, Messrs. Sale 
and Lafont legitimately responded in L'Evolution regressive ["Regressive 
Evolution"] , p. 47: "Isn't creation an absolute beginning?" The Faith tells us 
that God daily creates the souls of babies, and that in the beginning He 
created the spiritual soul of the first man. For Him the miracle is an 
absolute beginning which is not at all repugnant to reason. 
CF: on this point, P. Descoqs, S.I., Autour de la crise du transformisme 
["On the crisis of transformation."], 2nd edition, 1944, p. 85. 
Finally, as Father Descoqs remarked, Ibid, p. 2 and 7, the theologians 
should not be speaking so much about evolutionism and transformism, 
since the best minds such as P. Lemolue, Professor at the Museum writes: 
"Evolution is a kind of dogma which these priests do not believe, but that 
they hold for their people. Thus it is necessary to have the courage to say 
so. so that the men of the next generation will conduct their research by 
otner methods." CF. Conclusion of V. 5 of L'Encyclop6dia frangaise (1937). 
Dr. H. Rouviere, professor in the Department of Medicine of Paris, member 
of the Academy of Medicine, also writes in Anatomie philosophique, La 
finalite dans Involution ["Philosophical anatomies [or forms]: Finality in 
Evolution"] p. 37: The doctrine of transformism collapses upon itself ... The 
majority of biologists have distanced themselves from it because the 
defenders of transformism have never produced the least proof to support 
their theory and everything known about evolution contradicts their 

34. Nulla propositio abstracta potest haberi ut immutabiliter vera." "Etiarn 
post fidem conceptam, homo non debet quiescere in dogmatlbus religionis, 
eisque fixe et immobiliter adhaerere, sed semper anxius manere 
progredlendl ad ulteriorem veritatem, nempe evoivendo in novos sensus, 
Immo et corrlgendo Id quod credit " CF: Monitore ecclesiastico, 1925, 
p. 194. 

35. CF: Monitore ecclesiastico, 1925, p. 194. 

36. praesentia corporis Christi per modum substantlae 

37. sess XIII, cap. 4 and can. 2 (Denz. 877.884) 

38. "quam quidem conversionem catolica Eclesia aptissime 
transsubstantiationem appelaC 

39. In the same article we read: "In the scholastics' perspective, the idea 
of thing-sign was lost. In an Augustinian universe, where a material thing 
is not only itself, but rather a sign of spiritual realities, one can say that a 
thing, being through the will of God the sign of another thing, which it was 
by nature, [that thing] might become itself other without changing 

In the scholastic perspective, the idea of thing-sign is not lost at all. Saint 
Thomas says, 1st, q. 1, a. 10: "Auctor S. Schpturae est Deus, in cuius 
potestate est, ut non solum voces ad significandum accommodet (quod 
etiam homo facere potest) sed etiam res ipsas." Thus Isaac who prepared 
to be sacrificed is the figure of Christ, and the manna is the figure of the 
Eucharist St. Thomas notes this when speaking of this sacrament. But by 
the Eucharist consecration the bread does not only become the sign of the 
Body of Christ, and the wine the sign of His Blood, as the sacramentaries 

of the Protestants are thought to be. CF. D.T.C. art. Sacramentaire; out as 
it was formally defined at the Council of Trent, the substance of bread is 
changed into that of the Body of Christ which was rendered present per 
modum substantiae under the species of bread. And this is not only 
germane to the theologians of the era of the Council regarding the 
consecration. It is the immutable truth defined by the Church. 

40. "conversio totius substantiae panis in Corpus et totius substantiae vini 
in Sanguinem, manentibus duntaxat speciebus panis et vini." Denz. 884. 

41 . St. Thomas clearly distinguished the three presences of God: first, the 
general presence of God in all the creatures which He brought into 
existence (1st. q. 8, a. 1); 2nd, the special presence of God in the just by 
grace. He is in them as in a temple, acknowledged by a recognizable 
quasi-experienced object., q. 43. a. 3; 3rd, the presence of the Word in the 
humanity of Jesus through the hypostatic union. Thus it is certain that after 
the Incarnation God was more present on the earth in Judea than 
elsewhere. But when one thinks that St. Thomas has not even known how 
to pose these problems, then one goes off into all types of flights of fancy, 
and returns to modernism with the off-handedness that can be read on 
every one of these pages. 

42. "Veritas non est immutabilis piusquam ipse homo, quippe quae cum 
ipso, in ipso et per ipsum evolvitur". (Denz. 2058) 

43. 1896, p. 36, section 413; 1897, p. 62, 239, 627; 1898. p. 578 

44. Authors such as Teder and Papus, in their explication of martlnist 
doctrine, teach a mystical pantheism and a neo-qnostlcism by which 
everything comes out of God by emanation (there is then a fall, a cosmic 
evil, a sui generis original sin), and all aspire to be re-integrated into the 
divinity, and all shall arrive there. This is in many recent occultists' works 
on the modem Christ, and fulness in terms of astral light, ideas not at all 
those of the Church and which are blasphemous inversions because they 
are always the pantheistic negation of the true supernatural, and often even 
the negation of the distinction of moral good and of moral evil, in order to 
allow only that which is a useful or desired good, including cosmic or 
physical evil, which with the reintegration of alt. without exception, will 

45. Certainly we admit that the true mystical 
in the just from the gifts of the Holy Spirit, above all. the gift of wisdom. 
confirms the faith, because it demonstrates to us that the revealed 
mysteries correspond to our most profound hopes, and arouses the highest 
of those hopes. We recognize that there is a truth of life, a conformity of the 
spirit, with the life of the man of good will, and a peace which is the sign of 
tmth. But this mystical experience supposes the infused faith, and the act 
of faith itself supposes faith in the revealed mysteries. 

Likewise, as the Vatican Council expresses it, we are able to have, by the 
natural light of reason, the certainty that God exists as the author of nature. 
Solely because of that, it is necessary that the principles of these proofs, 
in particular that of causality, are tnje per conformitatem ad ens 
extramentale, and that they are demonstrable through sufficiently 
objectively proofs (subject a priori to the free choice of men of good willj, 
and not only through a sufficiently subjective proof, as that of the Kantian 
one of the existence of God. 

Finally the practical truth of prudence (per conformitatem ad intentionem 
rectam) supposes that our intention is truly strictly fixed on the ultimate end 
of man. and the judgment of the end of men must be true secundum mentis 
conformitatem adrealitatem extramentalem. CF. I II. Q. 19, a. 3, ad 2 

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Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (1877-1964) 

Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (1877-1964) was a philosopher and theologian of great 
wisdom, learning and holiness, one of the greatest theologians of the 20th Century. Born in Auch, France 
as a young man he studied medicine at the University of Bordeaux before entering the Dominican Order 
in 1897. He completed his ecclesiastical studies under the direction of A. Gardeil. From 1909 until 1960 
he taught fundamental, dogmatic and spiritual theology at what is now called the Pontifical University 
of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome, and he served during the latter part of his career as a 
consulter to the Holy Office and other Roman congregations. Beginning around age 27, he wrote more 
than 500 books and articles, many of which have been translated from the original French or Latin into 
other languages. 

Father Garrigou-Lagrange was a zealous proponent of the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas as 
expounded by the classical commentators of the Dominican school — Cajetan (Tommaso de Vio) Banez 
John of St. Thomas and Charles Billuart. He combined a great respect for the past with an" 
understanding and appreciation of the intellectual and spiritual needs of his own time. His principal 
theses are set forth systematically in .his La Synthese thomiste (Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic 
Thought). In philosophy his first outstanding work was Le sens commun, la philosophie de I'etre et les 
. formules dogmatiques suivi d'une Hude sur la valeur de la critique moderniste des preuves thomistes de 
I'existence de Dieu (1909), a work written against Modernism and its conception of the e^Mtion of 
dogma. There he reaffirmed the validity of the philosophy of being. Of moderate realism, and of 
Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics, which is simply the development of elementary and primordial ideas 
by natural intelligence. Then turning to dogmatic formula which he did not wish to tie to any 
philosophical system, he showed their rational value and stability. Knowledge of dogma and of dogmatic 
expressions and formulas can progress, but the dogma remains always immutable in itself. Father 
Garrigou-Lagrange's most important philosophical work was God — His Existence and His Nature: A 
Thomistic Solution of Certain Agnostic Antinomies; in this work he laid great stress on the Thomistic 
doctrine concerning the identity of essence and existence in God and the real distinction of essence and 
existence in the creature. 

The major part of Father Garrigou-Lagrange's work, however, was theological. His classic work 
entitled De revelatione ab ecclesia proposita (1918, rev. ed. 1932) presented apologetics as a theological 
rather than a philosophical science, as a rational defense of divine revelation made by reason under 
positive direction by Faith. He endeavored to protect the notion of Faith as an essentially supernatural 
gift that transcends by far the elaborations of human thought and cannot be the fruit of a rational 
syllogism, which can lead the mind no further than to the judgment of credibility; at the same time he 
strove to avoid the pitfall of a fideism that would ignore reason and human study. Father Garrigou- 
Lagrange's masterly commentary (7 vol.) on the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas is a 
comprehensive development and treatment of the truths of faith according to the theology of St. Thomas 

It is probably for his theology of the spiritual life that Father Garrigou-Lagrange is most well- 
known; in spiritual theology the principal points of his doctrine were established in the light of Thomistic 
teaching. Adopting the position of Father John Arintero, O.P., he insisted vigorously on the universal call 
to holiness and therefore to infused contemplation and to the mystical life as the normal ways of holiness 
or Christian perfection. Among his most fundamental works in this field are Christian Perfection and 
Contemplation, Les Trois conversions et les trois.voies (The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life)- The Love 
of God and the Cross of Jesus; The Three Ages of the Interior Life; De sanctificatione sacerdotum 
secundum exigentas temporis nostri (The Priesthood and Perfection); and De unione sacerdotis cum 
Christo Sacerdote et Victima (The Priest in Union with Christ). He also wrote a book entitled Mere 
Franqoise de Jesus, fondatrice de la Compagnie de la Vierge, as well as numerous articles for La Vie 
Spirituelle and Angelicum. 

Other books of Father Garrigou-Lagrange which have been translated into English (in addition 
to those whose titles are given above in English) include: Christ the Savior; The Theological Virtues— vol. 
1: Faith, Grace; Life Everlasting, The One God; Our Savior and His Love for Us; Predestination, 
Providence; The Trinity and God the Creator; The Mother of the Savior and Our Interior Life; Beatitude 
(moral theology, on human acts and habits), and his retreat conferences published posthumously as The 
Last Writings of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. 

Taken from The New Catholic Encyclopedia 

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